City of La Crosse
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La Crosse marijuana reform draws heat from police

When you have the votes, you have the votes and that is what happened in the City of La Crosse in 2011 and again in 2020 as the city council lowered the fine to cannabis possession to $1 and raised the amount of possession from 7 grams to 25 grams.

All involved hoped the latest attempt some 10 years later would be met with high support, especially since the 2018 La Crosse County Marijuana Referendum calling for marijuana to be regulated like alcohol passed by 63%, but nope, prohibitionist and haters are ever and always present……city officials attempted to refer the resolution for 30 days and then table the matter for a full calendar year, in order to find out more information, but it ultimately passed with a 9 to 3 vote.

This type of reform has been successful in many areas of the state and country. More locally, some municipalities and counties have used the similar tactic of “make marijuana reform the lowest priority for law enforcement”. This may need to be the route the local activists need to pursue was the police present had some very discouraging statements during the process.

Here is the news report from the statements from local leaders on the topic.

Cannabis reform approved

City of La Crosse
City of La Crosse

The city also approved an ordinance change at the Thursday night council meeting that reduces the fine for possession of small amounts of cannabis, or marijuana, within city limits.

The fine for possessing 25 grams or less of the substance will now be just $1.

Shawn Kudron, La Crosse Police Chief
Shawn Kudron, La Crosse Police Chief

La Crosse Chief of Police Shawn Kudron told the council he opposed the change, stating that it sends the wrong message that cannabis is legal, and that police will send related charges through La Crosse County circuit court, where city ordinances may be null and void.

What the city is doing today, is only sending a false message in that marijuana is illegal in the state of Wisconsin. There is no legal marijuana in the state of Wisconsin. There is no legal marijuana in the city of La Crosse,” said assistant police chief Robert Abraham.

“Do not be surprised if not a single officer writes a single $1 citation,” Abraham continued. “The attempt you’re trying to make here politically, I think is going to backfire.”

The resolution was put forth and sponsored by council member Roger Christians, who has noted in the past that he supports the measures because of the medicinal benefits cannabis has His wife and several of his friends suffer from chronic pain.

Roger Christians mug

“I consider this minor. I consider the traffic in this town a problem, I consider the fireworks that went off for a month a problem,” council member Gary Padesky said in response to police opposition.

“I don’t consider a 69-year-old hippie having a joint in his backyard because he has knee pains from maybe being a Vietnam vet a problem,” Padesky said.

“I’m not happy that [the police] are basically telling us, screw you, we’re going to go to the county level,” he added.

City officials attempted to refer the resolution for 30 days and then table the matter for a full calendar year, in order to find out more information, but it ultimately passed with a 9 to 3 vote.

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